Ellen Fountain Works

Artist Archive
Ellen Fountain


Ellen Allgaier Fountain works primarily in transparent watercolor, mixed-media and digital painting. She was self-taught until college, where, at the University of Arizona as a graduate student, she took her first watercolor class. She was immediately intrigued by its simplicity (pigment and water) and its difficulties. Unlike oil or acrylic, mistakes can’t be covered up, and early on, she found this both intimidating and challenging. That challenge has kept her focused on the medium ever since.

Fountain earned a B.F.A. in studio art, then a M.A. in art education at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she now lives. She taught middle school art for six years after college, after which she pursued a career as a professional artist.

Painting gives her great pleasure, and she hopes her work connects with the viewer. Towards that end, she paints what she knows and loves, focusing on landscape and still life. She grew up in the wilds of the Idaho panhandle, and as a child made a connection to the natural world that never left her. Drawn to the plants, animals and geography of every place she's lived, she looks for the patterns and underlying structure in nature, which at first glance seems chaotic. The desert southwest, her home for the past 45 years, provides ample inspiration for Fountain's landscape work, whether done plein air or in the studio. Travels elsewhere provide supplemental subject matter. She likes to work en plein air when possible, but if she can't, she uses her sketchbook and camera to get down the essentials of what excited her about her subject, so that she can recreate that excitement once back in her studio.



Ellen Allgaier Fountain is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, Watercolor West, the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, Rocky Mountain National Watermedia, the Arizona Watercolor Association, and the Southern Arizona Watercolor Guild.

An award-winning artist, she has exhibited her work in major shows throughout the United States, including Watercolor USA, The National Watercolor Society, The Rocky Mountain National, The Arizona Biennial, Watercolor West, and the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies.

Fountain participated for five years in the Artist-in-Residence program, sponsored by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and has also received a Tucson-Pima Arts Council Visual Artist Fellowship award. She holds B.F.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Arizona. She is a retired faculty member of The Drawing Studio in Tucson where she taught watercolor for many years.

Her work is in many private and public collections, including the Tucson Museum of Art, and has been published in Watercolor  magazine, The Artists' Magazine, Splash 11 and The Best of Watercolor (Rockport Publishers). In 2000 she produced a 5-volume series of instructional videos for the beginning watercolor painter.

You can see more of Ellen Fountain's work on her website at www.fountainstudio.com.